Genga Ponnampalam wanted to make it easier for people to eat healthy food, so after a long stint as a computer programmer, he founded Go Veggies—a vegetarian and vegan outfit that culls local produce and morphs it into hearty dishes, some of which hail from his native Sri Lanka. At farmers markets, grocery stores, and a café space, he and his staff delight taste buds with healthy cuisine that’s good for the environment, like carpooling or bikepooling to work. They also positively impact the community by composting their food waste and recycling their packaging.
Terroir La Cachette, tucked away in the heart of Niagra-on-the-Lake, plates fresh, local cuisine in the Provençal style— hearty ingredients saturated with simple flavours. An award winning wine list, with selections from Strewn Winery—home to La Cachette—compliments Chef Alain Levesque's menu's twists on French countryside fare. For lunch, dig into the braised onion, wild mushroom, and camembert tart nestled in a bed of greens ($15), or for dinner, salve stomach hunger sensations with the popular Brome Lake duck confit, glazed with a sour cherry bigarade ($30). A vibrant, convivial atmosphere and peaceful terrace evokes windswept Provençal landscapes and the urge to toss windswept Provençal Frisbees.
As a child, Lorraine, the owner of The Crown and Crumpet Tea Room, lived with her family above a restaurant in the United Kingdom, eventually owning her own teahouse, Petticoat Tails, in Winchcome in the Cotswolds. Years later, after moving to Ontario, Lorraine came across a historical brick house built in 1929, and immediately saw its potential as a classic teahouse. The home gives one the sensation of having stepped into another time and place, furthered by antique tea sets and imported British candies including blackcurrant licorice and toffee bonbons.
Beneath the crisp lines of British flags hanging from the walls, the family uses produce and ingredients from local farms to make lunch, high tea, and dessert each day. Lorraine’s rotating menus have included leek-and-goat-cheese quiche with fresh local asparagus as well as lamb with mango chutney carved tableside. In a sunny outside garden, cups click against saucers painted with colourful sprays of flowers like the world’s least intimidating monster truck.
Yogurty's, a proudly Canadian company, claims that at their stores, no two customers have ever made the same exact treat twice. It would be nearly impossible—low- or no-fat, probiotic-rich frozen yogurt comes in more than 85 flavours, ranging from carmel latte to banana split to red velvet, and 65 toppings allow patrons to swirl, drizzle, and sprinkle tasty treats until they resemble works of icy art. Their gluten-free yogurt, a natural source of protein, calcium, and probiotics, is made from fresh milk right off of Canadian farms and supports healthy digestive systems and immunity. The cheerful stores showcase bright colors—nearly as bright as bubblegum and orange cream, topped with sour gummi worms, and rainbow sprinkles.
The bean blazers at Boulder Coffee Company flame-roast their coffee before brewing signature coffees and espressos. Sink into a comfy couch or float lazily on the aromatic wafts of fresh coffee while sipping on the caramel macchiato, a vanilla latte topped with caramel sauce, or a spiced chai. An artful atmosphere beckons the caffeinated critic with walls lined with paintings and negative space for seeing what's going on outside. Boulder Coffee Company’s open-mic night allows anyone to sign up to deliver comedy or perform espresso spit takes; check the calendar for an idea of upcoming acts.